And why is it for life??
The day has finally come: The braces are coming off! And then it slips, “This is your retainer, and you have to wear it every night for the rest of your life.”
Most of us were teenagers when we had our first experience with orthodontic treatment. At that age, we do not know what we want for lunch let alone the reality of a lifetime commitment. So, you wore the retainer for the first couple months, or maybe even a couple years. Then college and life hit and everything went out of the window.
This is a tale as old as time and as orthodontists we live this unfortunate reality on a daily basis. So let us provide some clarity on the myth of the retainer.
What is a retainer and why do I need one?
A retainer is a plastic or metal type appliance that is custom-made for each patient. Retainers help your teeth stay in their new position after active orthodontic treatment is complete. Retainers are analogous to a cast when you break a bone. They simply immobilize to allow healing and stability.
Why is it a lifetime commitment?
Unfortunately, wrinkles and gray hair are not the only signs of aging to strike above the neck. Your teeth make age related changes just like any other part of your body. Retainers are a nightly dose of Botox or hair dye for your teeth. They serve to halt the intraoral aging phenomenon of crooked teeth.
What can I do if I lost my retainers and have experienced some shifting of my teeth?
You’re in luck! With the advances in technology and 3D printing, we are able to provide the cost-effective solution for you. We are now able to create custom aligners, or a sequential set of clear retainers that will gradually re-align your teeth to where they once were.
The process is so simple. Simply wear each sequential retainer for 1-2 weeks until any wrinkle of malalignment is eliminated.